The American Psychological Association says that the COVID-19 pandemic and associated lockdowns caused mass trauma among adults that still persists today.
The United States is still reeling from the effects of COVID-19 lockdowns and other aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic as Americans have suffered a “collective trauma,” the American Psychological Association (APA) has said, citing a study.
While the national health emergency caused by the COVID-19 outbreak officially came to an end on May 11, in some ways the country hasn’t returned to “normal.” according to the organization.
The APA concluded in the results of its survey, released on Nov. 1, that there are “signs of collective trauma among all age cohorts” in the United States.
“The COVID-19 pandemic created a collective experience among Americans. While the early-pandemic lockdowns may seem like the distant past, the aftermath remains,” Arthur C. Evans Jr., the organization’s CEO, said in a statement.
The study found that adults between the ages of 34 and 44 reported the biggest surge in chronic health conditions since the pandemic, rising to 58 percent in 2023 from 48 percent in 2019.
The same age group also experienced the biggest jump in mental health illnesses, chiefly anxiety and depression. These rose to 45 percent this year from 31 percent in 2019, according to the study.
Chronically elevated levels of stress create risks for various mental health challenges and wear down the immune system, according to the APA. The association noted that the data suggest that long-term stress sustained since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on Americans’ well-being.
“We cannot ignore the fact that we have been significantly changed by the loss of more than one million Americans, as well as the shift in our workplaces, school systems, and culture at large,” Mr. Evans said. “To move toward posttraumatic growth, we must first identify and understand the psychological wounds that remain.”
Chronic stress can cause inflammation, breaking down the immune system and raising the risk of all sorts of ailments, including stroke and heart disease, the APA warned.
By Tom Ozimek